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NR 114, 146, 524 Update: 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remains unable to administer regularly scheduled exams. However, we recognize that urgent circumstances exist in which a prospective operator, driller or pump installer may not be able to secure certifications or licenses, leaving their utility, facility, organization or business either in a state of noncompliance or violation.

The DNR has secured permission from the Governor’s Office to administer socially distanced in-person exams at the Wisconsin Rural Water Association’s facility in Plover, Wisconsin. We are holding morning and afternoon exam sessions twice per month and can accommodate up to 40 people per session. Exam stations are sterilized between sessions. Individuals who urgently need an exam should complete an “Urgent Exam Request Form”.

Urgent exam requests are evaluated weekly to determine the most critical needs, and individuals are contacted as soon as possible to confirm if their exam request was approved. Applicants that receive approval for their Urgent Exam Request will receive exam registration application forms promptly.

The DNR is also in the process of seeking approval to draft emergency rules that will authorize contracts with third-party providers. These contracts will help administer online exams for landfills, drinking water and wastewater system operators, septage haulers, well drillers and pump installers. We anticipate launching online exams at the end of summer 2021.

We at the DNR thank you for your patience and cooperation as we all go through the COVID-19 emergency.

Ch. NR 114, 499 and 524 Wis. Adm. Code require an individual to pass one or more exams in order to become a certified operator. These exams are provided by the department at least two times annually in various locations. See the schedule below for more details.

All exams are multiple choice. The one exception is the wastewater unique treatment exam, which is short answer. The majority of wastewater exams are 50 questions. The wastewater advanced exam is 100 questions and the attached growth process, recirculating media filters and total nitrogen exams are 25 questions each. All municipal waterworks exams are 40 questions. The one exception is the surface water exam, which is 80 questions. Septage exams are 40 questions and landfill exams are 50 questions each.

Each exam date has a morning and afternoon session. Each session is three hours. An applicant may split up their exams between the morning and afternoon session. If you are taking exams at both times, please indicate on the exam application which exams you would like to take during each session.

A score of 75 percent or higher is a passing score for waterworks, wastewater, septage, and small water systems (OTM/NN) exams. A score of 70 percent or higher is a passing score for landfill exams.

Exam results will be mailed to each applicant normally within 30 days of the exam date. Applicants who have failed a written exam may apply to re–take the exam at any future exam date by completing an application and paying the exam fee.

Additional information, including study guides, can be found under the various program certification tabs.

2020 Exam Schedule

Application available Postmark deadline Exam date Exam location(s)
November 27, 2019 January 8, 2020 February 5, 2020 Plover
February 26, 2020 April 8, 2020 May 6, 2020 CANCELED

Renew Online

You can now renew wastewater, waterworks and small water systems certification online.


When applications are available the links will show up below.

image of a test answer sheet